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Donuts, sushi and barefoot solo…

Godzilla - I think I love you.

So, here I am, alone in my hotel room in Bandung… reacquainting myself with my old friends air-conditioning, hot water and MTV – luxuries I haven’t missed much, but that I certainly appreciate before two weeks of roughing it solo with a sweaty backpack, dingy hostels and street food in Vietnam.
S and I drove up to Bandung from BK last night; it took about seven hours, with a stop off in Parigi to have my fill of Sundanese food before I escape from it for two weeks. I can normally sleep in cars. But not last night. Instead I sat, lost in thought for hours on end – with a sore bum – rediscovering music and dreaming of far off lands. We stopped about 2 hours from Bandung and drank hot milk tea and smoked. Stretched our legs. Wiped the exhaustion of travelling from our faces and then got back in the van. We got into town a little after 1am this morning and crashed pretty hard in what might actually be the worlds most comfortable bed.
This morning, it was time to get a little fix of being in a city again after 60 days isolated in a little village. I’m a city kid. I was born in a city, I was raised in a city… But there is a part of me that has ALWAYS loved the country more. From camping trips where your clothes are never clean and you don’t have to look both ways before you cross the street to beach holidays where your hair is sticky with salt and your face is burnt… How can city life beat it? It can’t. But a city kid will always need a city fix… if for nothing else but for the gastronomic delights.

There are lots of things to see in Bandung, or so the guidebooks say, but for those of us that live in Java (locals and expats alike), we escape to Bandung for a little taste of the world outside the village. Shopping malls, discount factory outlets and food from all around the world encourages the Java dwellers to flock here for something a little different to the norm. We hit the hotel buffet early this morning, gorging ourselves in only the way true ladies do – well, ladies from Australia that is. Rice porridge with chicken and vegetables followed by sweet breads, juices, mie goreng, fruit and yoghurt. And by this point I was well and truly ready to go to bed. But instead we went shopping.
I’m a little light on the cash front these days, with work being slow in the past few months, but when we hit BEC – the electronics mall, I got sucked in big time. I’ve wanted to get a mini notebook for a while, and considering I travel so much, lugging my big screen design lap top around is a pain in the neck – literally. So, in a mall where they sell nothing but cheap electronics, I was sold. Anyone who knows me knows I’m not a money spender – I’ve never had it, so I don’t ever see things as purchasable – particularly without weeks of consideration. Today I surprised myself. I bought a cute little Acer notebook which weighs about 1kg and is perfect for my travel writing and working on the road. It boasts that it has an eight hour battery life which means I will actually be able to work (theoretically) whilst on a bus or on a plane… so it’s a work expense, right?

After the shock of actually spending money on something, we went factory outlet shopping where I let S do the spending while I waited dutifully by the change rooms. It was then time to eat again… regardless of how painfully full I already was.

oh doughy goodness... how I love thee.

Donuts that were soft and fluffy and filled my mouth with chocolate and peanuts where definitely the winner at this deliciously fattening smorgasbord…

A terrifying selection of sausages...

More shopping… Feeling exhausted… We went to Carrefour to buy the bits and bobs for our house, puppy food (he’ll go into shock that it’s not his usual rice dinner), cleaning products, and little treats that remind us from home… Carrefour in Indonesia is unlike its counterpart in the mountains of france (the only other of this chain I have visited) in every way except for its vastness. In france there is an entire ailse allocated to our friend, Cheese, in Indo, there is an entire section dedicated to Pop Mie and dried fish. The ways of these worlds. There is also, in the Bandung Careefour, the most incredible display of (beef only) sausages – prepackaged, solidified meat sausages – that I have ever seen. I couldn’t help but be a tourist with my camera. After over an hour in the supermarket it was definately time for yet another eating adventure.

'The baby dragon' and 'The crab that loved me'

Sushi is my favorite food. Without a doubt. And at this little sushi bar in Bandung, they do sushi with a twist. The Baby dragon, the Krakatoa, the Godzilla – just to name a few, where admired, and then devoured with joy washed down with iced tea and Bintang my body was screaming for a nap.

yum... yum... yum

Eel wrapped rice stuffed with soft shell crab, tempura prawns wrapped in rice, salmon and mango… and warm sushi – certainly an interesting invention… all delighted and exhausted.

satisfaction

We eventually made it back to the hotel, where we waited for a delivery and then moved on to the Java renowned international supermarket where you can guarantee to buy your favorites from home (for a price). We filled a trolley with cheese and bread and milk – chocolates, beans, soups and other favorites that we get cravings for every now and again. Don’t get me wrong. I love the Indonesian fare, I really do. But when I’m not well, or I’ve had a bad day, or I’m just a little home sick, I’d really love a bowl of Campbell’s soup or Mac and cheese, or even just cheese on toast… and now, I can have my comfort food.

Post shopping extravaganza I was exhausted, so I came back to the hotel, bid farewell to S and settled in for a night of TV, aircon and a shower so hot it burnt the top layer of my skin off. And for the first time in god knows how long – I am totally alone. There is no one in this city who knows me and I’m all alone. And for the next two weeks – I’m completely solo. I have one more full day here in Bandung – where I will probably work (I have to work) and do some more exploring… some thinking… some writing… some coming to terms with myself. Getting used to my own company again. Where every day, every moment, it’s just me.

I hope I’m not as annoying as I was last time.

Barefoot, alone and looking for adventure.

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